How Does Sleep Affect Mental Health?
Mental Health and Sleep
Since my circadian cycle is completely out of whack, I thought many others might be in the same boat. Lack of sleep or insomnia mental health negatively affects our mental and emotional health.
The University of California investigated what happens to our minds without sleep. I highly doubt anyone who has gone without sleep would be surprised by their findings.
It can affect our mood and lead to depression and anxiety. Really? Also, lack of sleep tends to bypass connecting to the prefrontal section of your brain and hits the locus coeruleus or primitive part instead.
What is still disputed by many is whether lack of sleep leads to mental illness or mental illness leads to a lack of sleep. It probably depends on the individual and their present situation or circumstances. Sleep disturbances would contribute towards making any existing mental illness worse.
“It’s almost as though, without sleep, the brain had reverted to more primitive patterns of activity, in that it was unable to put emotional experiences into context and produce controlled appropriate responses,” said Matthew Walker, director of UC Berkeley’s Sleep and Neuroimaging Laboratory and senior author of the study, -journal Current Biology.”
I know from experience insomnia can lead to strange sorts of behavior. If you’re worried or stressed about something, that can interfere with sleeping. To make matters worse, worrying about not being able to sleep makes sleep even less likely to come.
Helping With Sleep Problems
Getting to the root cause of why you can’t sleep is not always helpful, especially since you might already know why you can’t sleep. So what can be done about it? An asleep specialist can help you sort it out but here are some other suggestions.
- Get up at the same time every day regardless of how much sleep you got the night before. It requires some discipline and may involve feeling zombie-like for a couple of days.
- Try exploring relaxation methods such as meditation, yoga, and deep breathing. Doing weird stuff like listening to loud rock and roll right before bed might not relax you. Not that I’ve ever done that.
- Limit or stop your caffeine intake since it is a stimulant. It’s also a diuretic, so it may interrupt your sleep because you might need to go to the washroom more frequently, which leads to the next point.
- Limit fluid intake.
- Don’t nap for more than a half-hour at a time if you must. Any longer than that, and it will interfere with your sleep, come bedtime. I don’t know about you, but I feel groggy if I have a nap that lasts for more than an hour.
- Exercise regularly. Don’t do this right before bed, or you’ll be all pumped up. Practice does make you sleep better, though, as long as it’s not what you do immediately before jumping into bed.
- Some have used light therapy with some success. I can see this being especially helpful for someone who doesn’t have many windows or lives in a basement apartment.
- Color therapy is also something some might want to consider.
Many sleeping pills and sedatives can become addictive, so they are not usually advised except as a last resort. They don’t help you cope long term either but maybe best for short periods in times of crisis.
Finally, do not hesitate to see a doctor or counselor for more professional advice or Joining in Drug Treatment Program. Sometimes, anxiety and depression need to be treated with therapy and medication to help regulate your sleep.
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